Social Media Planning & Marketing for Businesses

28 October 2013
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28 October 2013, Comments: 0

More and more consumers are looking to the social web for information regarding companies today, to post a review about their experiences, or get insight from past customers. If you are already doing business, most likely your customers are talking to each other, and to you. They are doing it in person, on social media, through texting, and passively online.

Keeping track of the numerous social networking profiles for a small to medium sized business can get tricky when both the budget the amount of hands on experience with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn is limited. However, managing the presence of a business on the social media landscape can be easy to control, inexpensive, and can bring much higher engagement to loyal customers; ultimately expanding the reach of a business all in one fell swoop.

Social media has transformed the way we use the Internet and share content online. Having that in mind, consuming and sharing all sorts of different content from businesses has become that much easier, even becoming a very profitable mode of marketing that can bring in a steady stream of sales and leads when done properly. Like with anything associated with online marketing, though, businesses conduct a balancing act; the company’s message must get out there, while cautiously avoiding going overboard with engagement efforts like “sales pitch” and aggressive selling techniques.

Which social networks bring the most engagement to businesses? How about the best reach for their brand? While most social media experts can argue on this topic for hours, these are the biggest social networks on which all businesses need to be present:

– Facebook
– Twitter
– LinkedIn
– Google
– Pinterest

Of course, this list has the potential of changing for each business’s social media strategy. Regardless, the above are the most popular, have the biggest reach, and the most engaged users for a business of any size. Five may seem like quite a bit, but each one has its own purpose within a strategy and all can work in a cohesive manner.

All sorts of businesses can have multiple accounts on dozens of websites, all of them serving a different purpose, while also providing the same brand image and message. It is ultimately up to the business to decide which of social networks are best to distribute content and get more sales. Let’s take a look at the biggest social media networking sites and how your business should think about them…

Facebook:

Facebook has become a staple for any business and is a great starting point for a comprehensive social-media strategy. Lots of free plug-ins and add-ons can be used on Facebook Pages for businesses of all types, especially on the small to medium scale. Facebook is also the most active social network, with a reported 1 billion users. Facebook has a highly customizable advertising network that even a business with a smaller advertising budget can afford.

Twitter:

Then, there is Twitter. Considered the second-largest social network, Twitter is perfect for those bite-sized pieces of content and social media to really entice the community and provide on-the-go engagement with customers. Twitter is also indexed on Google, which is perfect for page rank. Not only is Twitter great for better engagement and one-to-one “conversations” with customers, it is also great for customer relationship management in general.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is increasingly showing its prowess in the social media sphere. LinkedIn’s new individual business pages, much like Facebook, allows companies to showcase their brand, their company’s internal culture, and forge another link in social media management. Despite all of the positives, LinkedIn is still best to fill in that B2B gap to nurture potential sales with fellow businesses, or even garner new consumers through networking with other professionals.

Google+ and Pinterest:

Google+ and Pinterest round out our Top 5. Both are relatively new to the arena, but both have already garnered lots of users, engagement, and reach. Choosing between the two might seem difficult, but it can be easily done by deciding what type of “role” the website can provide that is missing in a social-media campaign. For example, Facebook is a good generalized “hub” of social media, Twitter fills in the on-the-go gap, and LinkedIn takes care of that B2B networking. When you’re thinking about adding another link to that strategy, it can come down to a few choices: Google+ is generally considered to have a “close knit” community while Pinterest takes care of the picture and online image gap.. Or, there’s just setting up an account on both for a wider presence and reach online overall.

Types of Content:

Images have the most engagement and reach on Facebook and Twitter (and obviously Pinterest). Info graphics, “meme” pictures, daily office pictures, even stock images linked to online articles are all popular ways to ignite engagement, reach, and build a bigger community.

Video content accounts for a major part of most businesses’ content strategies now. In fact, YouTube rivals Facebook in reach and engagement when it comes to social media, so video is a great way to create a strong community of leads for sales.

Blogging on a consistent schedule means a better rank on Google content that is easily shared by the community, and can be easily automated to show up on social media feeds via WordPress and other blogging platforms. At The Loan Consultants, Inc. we assist you with setting up your WordPress Blog to be able to effectively widen your Social Media presence and get your company’s name out… Read More When you’re working with a much smaller budget, doing everything in-house can save you a lot in the long run.

Make It A Group Effort:

When it comes to sharing and social media, one key ingredient will make it all work: People! Encouraging the entire office to share, engage, and expand the reach of the company as a whole is a great and inexpensive way to bring in sales. The entire office can be the social media team to easily rival a major company’s own social media department by half the price.

Utilize The Internship:

Sometimes a little extra outside help is needed, but seasoned veterans aren’t the only ones with talent and ideas. In fact, employing the help of local colleges by employing interns is an inexpensive way to build up that social media strategy and have an ongoing team to manage it all.

Make It A Required Work:

Everyone is busy and time is money. Sometimes work can become a little too overwhelming, but sitting down to reorganize the day and make social media a requirement is just needed at times to make sure it can expand its ROI and bring in those sales.

 

Automation & Software:

Most everything in the realm of social media can be automated. Social networks and social media management tools have the ability to “schedule” posts to make sure management can mostly be automated daily or even weekly. Setting up the automation itself still takes a little time, though.  Therefore utilizing automation software can help you save time and money in the long haul as well. Read More

What Should I Be Monitoring?

While managing a social-media presence and creating content is all well and good, analytics and reporting are important tools to make sure the marketing budget doesn’t go to waste. The business of social media analytics has ballooned into a huge industry, allowing for businesses to take advantage of data collecting tools to better tweak their campaigns, but what exactly is being monitored?

User reaction on social platforms. This includes comments, tagged status updates, tweets, and messages sent directly to the business. Social media is more than just distributing content and making more sales; it is also customer relationship management and creating a positive, lasting impression on people.

Engagement of users following the brand and their social circles. While creating content is fine, an engaged audience must exist to heighten the reach and achieve the intended purpose of creating buzz and directing new customers to the business.

Influencers within the social media sphere relative to the business that should be

reached. Monitoring their engagement ratios, how much their message can reach, and potential conversion rates of top social-media power users can mean a great collaborative initiative for more sales.

Click-through rates and conversions are just as much a part of social media as  keyword campaigns, so making sure every piece of content is doing its job is another task that needs to be monitored during a campaign. Just how many people are clicking through to the content? How many conversions are coming in from that? Things like these, make the most impact on growth and the positive image of your company… Read More

Social Media Tools For Business:

Being able to analyze, track, manage, and update all of those accounts doesn’t have to mean signing into each website individually, or using analytics on each of the different websites and wasting tons of valuable time.

Ideally, goals such as click-through rates, views, conversion rates, and other parameters are the best to monitor during a social media campaign. Establishing close connections with customers, building a loyal community of engaged users, more paths for lead generation, higher customer retention, and, of course, obtaining higher sales numbers are other worthy goals. Sometimes a little outside help is needed to track all of that data.  At The Loan Consultants, Inc. we help you implement all these tools into your site for faster and more reliable Web-To-Business Experience. Read More

Final Summation:

Social media management is here to stay. Creating a strategy that is highly customizable and works for any type of business doesn’t have to require thousands of dollars in a marketing budget, nor does it mean having to hire on an entirely new team to manage all of their social media. Social media isn’t just for Enterprises. Small- and medium-sized businesses have the perfect advantage when it comes to social media as well. All of the content is homegrown and personalized, adding that “spark” for better engagement. And, finally, most social media is geared toward small- to medium-sized businesses in the first place.

It’s time to take advantage of that and create some great social media content. All it takes is being able to take that step into creating a plan, implementing said plan, tweaking it along the way, and becoming a social-media management rock star.

The Loan Consultants’ Lifetime I.T. Support

In addition to all the technologies you receive with The Loan Consultants, Inc., you also get lifetime consulting and support for the technological part of your business. We understand your venture is a dynamic and expansive medium, and we are always here to ensure its running smoothly! Read More

 

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